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CARTERET – The Borough Council ordered a $1.65 million reduction in the rejected 2009-2010 school budget last week. The council’s plan would save the average taxpayer nearly $200 from the school board’s proposed budget and $115 from what they paid this year, Mayor Daniel Reiman said.

Reiman said the defeated proposed school budget totaled $57,394,624, which called for a general tax levy of $23,840,278. The general fund tax levy will now be set at $22,190,278.

“We have enacted cuts without reducing any instructional positions or programs,” Reiman said. “We not only eliminated the increase, we cut into the budget,” he added. “We actually reduced taxes. This takes into account the economic times facing taxpayers and homeowners.”

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NEW BRUNSWICK – A Carteret woman was convicted of aggravated manslaughter last week in the 2006 killing of a Rahway man.

After three days of deliberations, the jury found Janean Owens, 23, guilty of manslaughter, conspiracy to commit theft, theft and several weapons charges. The acquitted her on charges of murder, felony murder and robbery.

Superior Court Judge Bradley Ferencz set June 22 as the tentative sentencing date, when Owens could receive more than 30 years in state prison.

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STATE – Carteret and Sayreville are among 120 New Jersey municipalities that had ordinances restricting where sex offenders could live struck down last week by a state Supreme Court decision.

The high court ruled 6-0 that municipalities are prohibited from banning sex offenders from living next to places where children gather, such as schools or parks. The case involved laws passed by Cherry Hill and Galloway townships. The Carteret and Sayreville ordinances, adopted in 2005, are similar to those invalidated by the court.

The Supreme Court’s decision affirmed a 2008 decision by the state’s Appellate Division that stressed the need to make policies regarding convicted sex offenders more uniform, precluding the “coexistence of municipal regulation.”

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CARTERET—Mayor Dan Reiman was joined today by representatives from Kinder Morgan for a ceremony in which a refurbished foam fire truck was formally presented to the Carteret Fire Department. The emergency service vehicle, valued at approximately $175,000, has been offered through the Kinder Morgan Foundation, which provides funds to local non-profit organizations to improve public resources and programs.

The truck, according to Carteret Fire Chief Brian O’Connor, is equipped specifically for the handling of chemical related emergencies, and has already been used twice this year.

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CARTERET—Mayor Dan Reiman and the Borough Council were joined on April 21 by hundreds of local residents for a groundbreaking ceremony making way for Carteret’s highly-anticipated “Health and Wellness Center.”

The project, first announced in 2007, will establish a 36,000 sq. ft. state-of-the-art fitness facility, housing a range of resources for health and recreation, along with a number of social amenities. This will be the only such facility in the borough, and the first of its kind in the town’s history.

To date, approximately $11.1 million has been raised for the fitness center through various grants, private endowments, and Developer Impact fees generated by local businesses and litigation settlements. Additional funding is being actively sought from regional businesses and private donors, according to Reiman. Total cost for the facility has been estimated at $12-14 million, which the mayor and Redevelopment Agency expect to have earmarked by the project’s completion in 2010.

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MIDDLESEX COUNTY – Woodbridge Township Mayor John E. McCormac, South Amboy Mayor John T. O’Leary, Carteret Mayor Daniel J. Reiman, and Perth Amboy Mayor Wilda Diaz, announced Monday that the four Middlesex County communities have received a $22,734 grant from the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs to perform a radio communications engineering feasibility study for a shared emergency communications system.  

The joint study will determine the best way to link a new state-of-the-art radio and emergency communications system currently being installed by Woodbridge Township with police and emergency responders from Woodbridge and the three neighboring municipalities of South Amboy, Carteret and Perth Amboy.

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STATE – Despite the recession and a growing movement against increased taxes, voters passed a majority of the school budgets in Middlesex and Union counties on Tuesday.

Voters approved school budgets in 16 of 21 Union County school districts, though Garwood, Hillside, Kenilworth, Linden and Plainfield voters rejected their districts’ spending plans. Eighteen of 24 school budgets passed in Middlesex County; budgets failed in Edison, Carteret, Sayreville, Monroe, Perth Amboy and Helmetta.

While a majority of South Amboy voters agreed to a $42,000 plan to restore middle school sports programs that were eliminated last year, the second question did not receive the sixty percent of the votes needed to pass .

The budgets that failed will now be reviewed by municipal officials, who will decide whether to make cuts. School boards may then accept the cuts or appeal to the state commissioner of education.

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